heart! Everyone starts as a novice. Use it as a chance to learn something valuable together. Chances are, you can teach one another, because modern kids are quick studies these days when it comes to technology.
Start Out the Easy, Old Fashioned Way with a Disposable Camera
If your child has no photography skills, everyone has to get started somewhere. Buy waterproof disposable cameras. Even the youngest of children can get exposure to photography with one of these cameras. You do not have to go to an exotic location. Just head out into the backyard, onto your street, or the playground located a block down the road.
Encourage your child to photograph what interests him. If he takes ten pictures of the playground slide, then so be it. Do not tell your child what to photograph, for you want him to develop his own eye and his own perspective. Assist instead with any questions about the basic camera itself. You could indicate that he could take close-up shots as well as distance shots, but other than that, let him be his own boss.
Once the camera is full, and it will not take long on those first outings, take it right away for some express development. This will be very exciting for your child. Refrain from criticizing any odd shots or angles or blurry images. Remember that we all have done that throughout our lifetime. Purchase an inexpensive photo album where he can arrange the photos on his own and have his own photo collection.
Look at Photo Collections
If you do not have any coffee table books full of large photos, then head over to your local library and check some out. Look at these together with your child. Talk about which photos she likes and why she likes them. Does she like nature photographs? Or does she like photos of people and faces? Use this as a guide in her next foray with the camera. If she likes photographs of people, then encourage her to take photos, but emphasize that she should ask permission before taking anyone’s photograph.
Go For a Basic Digital Camera
After a few rounds on the disposable cameras, try out a basic digital camera. When my son was in the first grade, I gave him my small digital camera when I upgraded to a digital SLR. Now as a fourth grader, he is still using it, although it is showing a little age. Digital cameras have come down in price significantly and you do not need to buy one with all the bells and whistles to start out. Go for simplicity and a reasonable price. If he can read the manual, then let him read it on his own and start playing with it. Make sure that the one you purchase is easily downloadable to your computer, but most are these days. One with a rechargeable battery will save loads of money down the road.
Load the Pictures into the Computer
Once your child masters working the digital camera and knows how to delete images, load the images onto the computer. Instead of doing it for her, instruct her and allow her to do it herself. The more she learns to do on her own, the faster she will master it. Offer assistance when she asks you, but stand back and allow her to figure out some of the methods herself. Introduce her to a simple photo program, where she can crop, change the lighting on the images, and even turn some into black and white. For her first endeavors, do get some of the images developed from the memory card so she will have something to place in her own physical photo album.
Blow up the Photography and Display It
Take one or two of her best shots and have them enlarged at your local photo shop. You can even enlarge some to poster-size these days. There is nothing better for a child’s self-esteem and confidence in her art than to have a parent proudly display it. Frame a shot or two and mount them on her bedroom wall or in the living room. This will only make her want to pursue the art of photography further.
Come Up with Photo Projects
Most PC Home Office Suites come with Power Point. Encourage your child to use his new photography skills in this computer environment. He will need this skill before you know it. Some schools have now entered the world of book reports and projects that are on Power Point instead of the traditional written and poster board methods. For example, if you go on a vacation, he should use his photos within a Power Point, where he uses his photos and also writes a narrative of a trip. If he goes to a rock and mineral museum, he should take photos of the rocks and then load them into a Power Point.
Distribute Your Child’s Photography Art
One great way to boost your child’s self esteem and provide great creative gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers is to have some of the photos developed and then framed for Christmas and birthday gifts. Your child will love doing this and friends and family will love to receive them.